Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal has committed his long-term future to the Emirates Stadium by signing a new long-term deal, the club has confirmed. The Spanish defender has said the club's fans and his relationship with Arsene Wenger were the crucial factors in his decision, despite reports linking him with a move back to La Liga in recent months.
Monreal moved to the Emirates Stadium in January 2013 after an impressive spell at Malaga. He struggled to make much of an impact in his first 18 months with the Gunners, but became a crucial part of Wenger's plans last season, muscling Kieran Gibbs out of the left-back role and featuring in the heart of defence in some matches thanks to his versatility.
Report in Spain since the summer of 2014 has claimed that Athletic Bilbao was interested in luring the player back to his home country, and those speculations re-emerged in the last transfer window, as his contract in North London was set to expire in 2016.
Monreal, however, has claimed that his intention was always to stay at the Emirates Stadium, after the club confirming the agreement in an official statement.
"I'm really happy because my intention was to keep playing for Arsenal. I feel really good playing here," the Spaniard said to Arsenal Player. "I have a good relationship with my teammates and we keep improving year after year. I wanted to stay here and I could extend my contract. I would like to play here for many more years.
"The trust of the Arsenal fans is really important for us because they are helping us in every moment as we fight to win the Premier League. I met the boss three years ago and I have a really good relationship with him and I'm really happy with him. For these reasons I extended my contract."
Having anticipated the new deal for the defender earlier this month, Wenger has hailed the agreement, pointing out both his importance on the pitch and in the dressing room, helping young talents to develop due to his experience.
"He is a very important player at the club because he can play left-back and centre-back," the manager told Arsenal Player. "He has the consistency in his performances that is required at the top level.
"Overall, his attitude has been absolutely fantastic on a daily basis since he arrived here. He's 100% committed and I think he has always improved since he has arrived and has shown that in many big games as well. He's calm, focused and dedicated. He's well-accepted and loved by his partners. He has the modest approach of a player who wants to give his best to the team. Everybody senses that and that's why I think it's important for the club to have that stability."